We all want happy and healthy children. That’s a given. We do everything we can to ensure they have all that they need and more. But one of my life’s greatest accomplishments is knowing that I raised a child who reads.

I’ve spent countless hours with my nose buried in a good book. From the time, I was first able to hold a book in my hands; I developed a love of reading. The story didn’t matter so much as the action itself. I found little nuggets of wisdom in everything that I read and amassed an extensive list of favorites.

After I had children, I couldn’t wait to share my childhood favorites with them. I wondered if they’d love them as much as I had and I hoped they’d find inspiration just as I dreamed they always would.

Today, I looked around my house, and I felt an enormous sense of pride. Every nook, cranny, and shelf have books on it. Some are dog-eared to favorite passages. Others have bookmarks here and there. We revisit each story time and time again.

Words mean something in our household. We’re on the constant lookout for more books to read. It doesn’t matter that we already own dozens of books because there’s always something new and exciting out there for us to discover.

Like many long-time readers, we enjoy the classics. The iconic children’s’ book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is one of our favorites. We read it regularly. But in addition to stories like “Goodnight, Moon,” we are always on the hunt for what I call modern classics. New authors with new stories to tell, excite me to no end.

Here are a few we think deserve to sit on every child’s bookshelf:

    01 Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
This beautiful wordless picture book is genius. With interactive flaps, the 2014 Caldecott Honor book, follows Flora and her gorgeous flamingo friend as they explore the ups and downs of friendship through dance. What’s not to love about that?

Filled with humor, heart, and harmony, this picture book is sure to delight young children.

02 The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson
This is a moving picture book that follows the story of nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest.

While a tough subject, this poignant and inspirational book tells her moving story in terms, young readers can understand. It opens up a much-needed conversation and showcases what it means to have compassion, take a stand, and do your part to make the world a better place.
03 Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko
A heartwarming story about a father and son who face their fears together and learn everything they need to know about what real bravery is. It will tug at the heartstrings, make you want to hug your father, and will quickly become one of your favorites.

04 Goodnight, Numbers by Danica McKellar
A bedtime story perfect for very young children. With beautiful illustrations and hidden math gems, this book aims to set the foundation for learning math skills. Children say goodnight to the objects around them and learn to count at the same time.

05 Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer
This book follows children’s favorite pig as she hunts down clues about her birthday? Is a surprise in store for her or has her eavesdropping led her down the wrong path? Find out in this fun adventure perfect for children between the ages of four and eight.

By Alan Freeman